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      7 Strategies for Fostering a Growth Mindset in Your Child   When we think of preparing kids for back-to-school, we often think of buying them flashy pens or trendy clothes to boost their confidence in the new year. While fresh sneakers and school supplies can make your kid feel sharp when school starts, material items can’t prepare their brains for engaged, motivated learning. To get the most out of their academic experience, children need to enter the school year with the right attitude towards learning. But positive outlooks aren’t exactly sold in the back-to-school aisle, so what can parents do to get their kids in the right mindset?       What type of mindset does my child have?   Most people have one of two attitudes about learning. Some people think that your level of intelligence is something that you are born with and can’t change, like eye color. This attitude is called a “fixed mindset.” People with fixed mindsets don’t believe they can improve their abilities – they believe everyone is either smart, average, or dumb and there’s nothing that can change that. Other people have what’s called a “growth mindset”; they view the brain as a muscle that is capable of growing, developing, and strengthening through challenges and effort.   Why is a growth mindset important ?  Kids with a growth mindset see challenges as opportunities to develop their intelligence. Their positive outlook on learning helps them view school as an exciting and motivational environment. For kids with fixed mindsets, however, school can be a terrifying place. Since they don’t see their potential to grow and improve, they often avoid studying or asking questions in fear of looking dumb. Whether a child has a fixed mindset or a growth mindset can have a significant impact on their emotional well-being throughout their academic career.    Click here to watch Free Webinar on Growth Mindset     Can parents support a growth mindset in kids?    As adults, we tend to view each new calendar year as an opportunity to achieve certain goals and experiences. For children and teens, the academic year represents their fresh start - a time that can be both exciting and intimidating. The new year can be especially scary when they are transitioning to a new school with unknown teachers or peers. While it’s normal for children to work through anxieties and obstacles in school, there are ways that parents can help them gain excitement for learning and believe in their ability to strengthen their intelligence:   To foster a growth mindset in your child, start by asking yourself the following questions:    1. How does my mindset measure up?   When you do something well, what do you attribute your success to? Intelligence? Luck? Talent? Or do you tend to attribute your success to someone else altogether? What about when you struggle with a task? Consider your attitudes toward your own learning capabilities; if you aren’t giving yourself enough credit for your brain’s ability to adapt and grow, you’re probably not sending a “growth mindset” message to your children. When you find yourself thinking with a “fixed mindset,” challenge your thoughts and model persistence through challenges.   2. Does my child understand that brains grow?   Teach your child that their brain is like a trainable muscle rather than a fixed attribute. Remind them that like the muscles in their arms that grow with physical activity, their brain also strengthens with effort and practice. Let them know that advancing to the next grade level means their brain will have new opportunities for “growth spurts.” This lesson can be especially powerful for children with learning or attention disorders who need reassurance that their abilities can improve with time and effort.   3. Am I praising appropriately?   While praising your child for being smart or talented can increase their self-esteem, this type of praise can actually backfire by supporting a fixed mindset. When you praise them for easily mastering tasks, it can give the message that it’s more desirable for them to do things they are automatically “good at,” rather than working hard to improve in challenging areas. As a result, many kids who are praised for talent and intelligence try to avoid tasks that require more risk and strategic thinking. Acknowledge your child’s talents, but also make sure to also praise their efforts and strategies to show them that you place value on more than just performance.   4. Does my child have "resiliency role models"?   Share stories with your child about underdogs who weren’t necessarily “naturals” in their field but were able to reach their goals through hard work and persistence. It can be famous individuals like Walt Disney who went bankrupt before building his empire, or people in your life like a family member who overcame obstacles to get where they are. These “resiliency role models” can inspire your child to have faith in their potential when they are feeling discouraged.    Click here to check out our blog on fostering your child’s persistence     5. Am I applying a growth mindset beyond academics?   Let’s face it, academics aren’t the only things learned about in school. Friendship, conflict resolution, and young romance are all topics that may fill your child or teen’s school day. Remind them that their brain will grow and adapt in every area of life; if they are having trouble making friends the first few weeks, view it as an opportunity for them to learn new ways to build relationships. If they said something totally embarrassing to their first crush, remind them that their brain has plenty of room to grow in the romance department as well!    For more tips on helping your child develop their emotional intelligence, click here     6. Am I teaching affirming language?   When your child feels frustrated and on the verge of yelling a 4-letter word, empower them with one of the most powerful 3-letter words in the English language – yet. Adding a simple “yet” to an exclamation of, “I can’t do this!” opens up a world of possibility. Teaching your child affirming language will help them adopt a resilient attitude. Turn, “this is too hard,” into, “this may take some time and effort.” Turn, “Plan A didn’t work,” into, “Good thing the alphabet has 25 more letters!” Affirming language will let your child know that they are able to master the challenge at hand, as long as they put in the time and effort to do so.   7. Should I talk to a specialist?   Anxieties revolving around the new school year can make it difficult for children and teens to focus on their learning; a higher grade level, new teachers and peers, puberty, or starting in a new building can discourage a child from focusing on their intellectual growth. It’s important that parents learn ways to support their child’s emotional health and growth mindset as they enter each school year.   Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D ., is an expert in child and educational psychology. She provides educational consulting to evaluate each child’s emotional and behavioral development and assess if there are other factors such as learning or attention differences that may impact their academic experience. Dr. Shinn works with parents and children to overcome obstacles and help children strive for their academic potential and emotional well-being.      
	  Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn 
      
 
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Hochanadel, Aaron; Finamore, Dora. (2015)  Fixed and Growth Mindset in Education and How Grit Helps Students Persist in the Face of Adversity.  Journal of International Education Research; Littleton Vol. 11, Iss. 1,  (2015): n/a.  Susana Claro, David Paunesku, Carol S. Dweck (2016).  Growth Mindset tempers effects of poverty on achievement  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Aug 2016, 113 (31) 8664-8668; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1608207113     https://garyhorvath.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/USOC-MINDSETS-by-Carol-Dweck-2.09.pdf  https://www.mindsetkit.org/growth-mindset-parents/learn-about-growth-mindset/what-is-growth-mindset-parents  https://www.understood.org/en/friends-feelings/empowering-your-child/building-on-strengths/growth-mindset  https://www.mindsetworks.com/websitemedia/youcangrowyourintelligence.pdf  https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=dr.+carol+dweck+ted+talk&view=detail&mid=0DB8542E849CFDBA73880DB8542E849CFDBA7388&FORM=VIRE   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). 7 Strategies for Fostering a Growth Mindset in Your Child.   Psychologically Speaking .   [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/7-strategies-for-fostering-a-growth-mindset-in-your-child

7 Strategies for Fostering a Growth Mindset in Your Child

Do you think intelligence is something you are born with and is unchanging, like eye color? Or do you think your brain is more like a muscle, that can grow and strengthen with training? Research suggests that the latter is true, and what your child believes can have a major impact on their emotional well-being throughout their academic career. Check out this week’s blog on 7 strategies to foster a growth mindset in your child.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      How to Care for Aging Parents while Raising a Family: 8 Tips for the Sandwich Generation   Modern medicine has meant that many adults are living longer – a fact that brings comfort to all of us. However, this increased life expectancy has also created another phenomenon called, “The Sandwich Generation,” – a group of adults responsible for the caregiving demands of both their children and aging parents. Becoming a “sandwiched” caregiver can feel intimidating as the physical, emotional and sometimes, financial demands are overwhelming. After spending your childhood under your parents’ care, this role reversal can feel painful and confusing for both of you.     So what can the “Sandwich Generation” do to provide the best care for their loved ones while maintaining their own well-being?   If you are a caregiver for multiple generations including young children, adult children, or aging parents, here are some tips that can help:   1. Communicate Regularly   When a parent’s health begins to decline, their care often falls into the hands of one of their children, usually, their oldest child or the one who lives closest. If that person is you, you’ll definitely feel the immense burden of having this role placed on your shoulders. To prevent all of the work from falling on you, set a regular time to communicate with other siblings, family members, or friends that can help with your parent’s care. This can keep everyone involved while holding them accountable.   2. Set your boundaries   You can’t give your family your best when you’re feeling burnt out. It’s important to set boundaries so that you only take on tasks that won’t compromise your ability to care for your kids, adult children, or yourself. Start by writing down every task you can think of related to work obligations and caring for your children and parents. Go over your list with family members to show them how much is on your plate and what you can or can’t take on. Set clear boundaries and stick to them.     3. Break down roles   Discuss who would be the best fit for each task related to your parent’s care. Does your cousin with a law degree have time to go over hospital paperwork? Is your brother’s daily route near the pharmacy to pick up medication? Can multiple family members share the responsibility of giving your parent rides throughout the week? And what about your sister who lives 800 miles away? Online banking means finances can be monitored from anywhere, so that might be a good fit for her. You may also consider having everyone pitch in to hire outside help for tasks such as housecleaning or grocery delivery.   4. Find support programs   There are many community centers, hospitals, and places of worship that provide support groups for caregivers to connect and share their experiences. You may be thinking, “I’m stretched beyond my max – I barely have time to read this blog, much less to attend support groups!” Remember, supporting your emotional health will reduce stress and improve your family relationships. In addition, many support groups have an adult care component, giving both you and your parent a break as you focus on self-care.   5. Schedule friend-dates   To avoid burnout, it’s important to regularly unwind, socialize, and spend time focused on your own identity away from your role as caregiver. Make sure that when you set your boundaries, you schedule specific “black-out dates” where other siblings or loved ones will need to tend to the needs of your parent. If your children are young, schedule babysitting trade-offs with other parents to enjoy some care-free fun with your friends or significant other.   6. Make your health a priority   Caregivers will take aging parents to every medical specialist under the sun but often fail to address their own health needs. Make it a point to do everything for yourself that you would do for your parent: get regular checks ups, annual physicals, lab work, dental  exams, and fill your own prescriptions. Prioritize exercise, whether it be a casual walk or an intense work-out. Try to sleep at least 8 hours a night and eat a well-balanced diet high in protein and vegetables to boost your mood and energy.   7. Recognize your parent's perspective    A common issue that caregivers experience is bumping heads with their parents. Remember that they are also experiencing stress, as it is difficult to hand off responsibility for their personal health and finances to others. Talk to them openly about their wishes and concerns and let them know that you want to help them from a place of mutual respect. Whenever possible, get them involved in problem solving or offer them options to show that you value their sense of independence.   Examples:      “Dad, what do you think would help you remember to take your medication?”      “Mom, what can we do to make errands a little more manageable? Would you be open to having your groceries delivered or your prescriptions automated?”      “Mom and dad, who would you like to help oversee your finances? Is there a family member you would trust or would you like me to look into a professional service?”     8. See a specialist   Whether you are caring for your children, your parents, or both, taking on new caregiving responsibilities is a challenging adjustment. A specialist can support you through these transitions and help you set boundaries, find additional resources, and maintain a close bond with each of your family members.      
	 CLick here to find a specialists that's right for you 
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                The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Barron, B. 9 Tips for Managing Sandwich Generation Stress. Care.com https://www.care.com/c/stories/5326/tips-for-managing-sandwich-generation-stress/  Goyer, A. Five Tips for Sanwiched Caregivers. AARP. https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/life-balance/info-2017/sandwich-generation-tips-ag.html  Passy, C. (2015). 6 Lessons for the Sandwich Generation. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/6-lessons-for-the-sandwich-generation-2015-09-10  Parker, K., Patton, E. (2013). The Sandwich Generation Rising Financial Burdens for Middle Aged Americans. PEW Research Center. Retrieved online: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/01/30/the-sandwich-generation/   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). How to Care for Aging Parents while Raising a Family: 8 Tips for the Sandwich   Generation.   Psychologically Speaking . [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/how-to-care-for-aging-parents-while-raising-a-family-8-tips-for-the-sandwich-generation

How to Care for Aging Parents while Raising a Family: 8 Tips for the Sandwich Generation

Modern medicine has meant that many adults are living longer – a fact that brings comfort to all of us. However, this increased life expectancy has also created another phenomenon called, “The Sandwich Generation,” – a group of adults responsible for the caregiving demands of both their children and aging parents. Becoming a “sandwiched” caregiver can feel intimidating as the physical, emotional and sometimes, financial demands are overwhelming. After spending your childhood under your parents’ care, this role reversal can feel painful and confusing for both of you.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Should My Child Have an Emotional Support Animal? 10 Things You Should Know    Throughout history, animals have been documented as companions, messengers, and heroes of mankind. Animals have an intangible quality that just makes people feel good and this special bond is especially strong in children. It’s commonly known that animals can support children with medical conditions such as blindness, epilepsy, or hearing impairment, but did you know many children qualify for a support animal to help them through emotional challenges?   If you think your child might benefit from the comfort of an emotional support animal, here are some things you should know:    1. There are different types of service animals   There are three different types of service animals designed to meet different needs:   Service animals (SA)  – SA’s are trained to perform specific tasks related to medical disabilities such as stabilizing a person that has trouble walking or detecting the onset of seizures in a person with epilepsy   Psychiatric service animals (PSA)  – PSA’s are trained to perform tasks related to psychiatric medical abilities such as reminding their handler to take their antidepressant medication   Emotional support animals (ESA’s)  – ESA’s are not trained to perform specific tasks but benefit people with their presence and companionship   2. ESA's aid a wide variety of disorders   Common disabilities that ESA’s provide comfort for include:    Post-traumatic stress disorder    Depression    Stress and Anxiety    Autism Spectrum Disorders    Psychotic disorders    Learning disorders    ADD    Motor skill disorders    Bipolar disorder    Gender identity disorders    Aerophobia (fear of flying)    Agoraphobia (fear of being outside of home)    If your child is struggling in any of these areas, they might benefit from the comfort of a cuddly friend.   3. They aren't allowed everywhere    Service animals and psychiatric service animals are universally allowed in public places, but that’s not always the case for emotional support animals. Some state and local governments do have laws that allow ESA’s in public, so it’s important to research the laws where you live before letting your child bring their pooch to the mall or movie theater. However, airlines are required to allow ESA’s to fly in the cabin for free, employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for ESA’s in the workplace, and landlords can’t evict or charge a pet deposit for ESA’s.   4. They don't have to be dogs   When people think of service animals, dogs are usually first to come to mind. However, ESA’s don’t have to be of the canine variety. Because ESA’s aren’t required to be trained on any specific tasks, just about any domesticated animal can qualify. Hedgehogs, rabbits, mice, cats, ferrets, miniature pigs – you name it! The only requirement is that the animal must be manageable in public.   5. They build emotional intelligence   In addition to teaching love, loyalty, and affection, a good pet relationship can help in developing non-verbal communication, compassion, and empathy. Being responsible for the care of an ESA creates a sense of purpose for the child and teaches them about respecting life and caring for others. Pets can also be a safe outlet for secrets and private thoughts because children often talk to their pets like they do their stuffed animals.    Click here for some more ways to increase emotional intelligence in your child      6. They reduce stress in children   Children with anxiety often feel like their lives are spiraling out of control. Everyday tasks such as heading to school or going to bed can cause a child with anxiety to feel panicked. An ESA can help provide love and comfort when a child is in stressful situations, improving the child’s confidence and increasing their sense of security.    Click here to learn Dr. Shinn’s STOP skills for managing stress and anxiety     7. They build children's social skills   ESA’s have been shown to significantly increase the social skills of children with emotional disorders. For kids struggling to build connections with others, having a pet can open the door for socialization. A child is more likely to engage when someone makes a comment about their animal or asks to pet it. Their ESA creates a safe, common place for them to talk about something that excites them.   8. They empower children with autism    Children with autism who own pets are more likely to have better social skills than those who don’t. Research has shown that children with autism who have ESAs are more likely to introduce themselves, ask for information, or respond to questions – all skills which are often difficult for them. In addition, ESAs have been shown to increase assertiveness, responsibility, cooperation, self-control, and social engagement in children with autism.   9. They reduce effects of trauma    When a child experiences trauma, whether it be related to abuse, witnessing violence, or grieving the loss of a loved one, they tend to replay parts of the incident(s) in their mind. They often dwell on what led up to the incident and think if they pay close attention they can avoid future traumas, causing undue fear and anxiety. Research has suggested an 82% reduction in symptoms of trauma after just one week of having an ESA. ESA’s help with crisis de-escalation and make children feel safe and comforted while overcoming their traumatic experience.   10. You'll require qualifications    Since your ESA does not require any special skills, they do not need to be certified as a support animal. What determines their status as an ESA is whether or not your child has the necessary documentation to prove that they’ve been prescribed an ESA. Your child must be screened by a   mental health specialist   and certified as emotionally disabled to legally qualify for an ESA. After being evaluated, your child’s   mental health specialist   must provide you with a formal letter stating that your child:    Has a medical condition    That your child is currently under their care for their condition    Prescribes an emotional support animal as a necessary support for your child    They also may include specific details related to housing and air travel that are compliant with the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act.   Our team of Specialists at Variations Psychology can evaluate your child for emotional disabilities and provide the necessary documentation to qualify them for an emotional support animal.        
	 CLick here to find a specialists that's right for you 
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   “Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA”  U.S. Department of Justice  Civil Rights Division Disability Rights Section  https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html  “Is That A Pet or Therapeutic Aid?”  American Psychological Association  http://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/09/pet-aid.aspx  “Pets and Children”  American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry  https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Pets-And-Children-075.aspx  “Therapy and Service Animals for Children with Special Needs”  Very Well Family  https://www.verywellfamily.com/service-animals-for-children-with-special-needs-4140722  “Animal Assisted Therapy for Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders”  Western Journal of Nursing Research  http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/019394502320555403  PTSD: National Center for PTSD  PTSD in Children And Teens  US Department of Veterans Affairs  https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/family/ptsd-children-adolescents.asp   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). Should My Child Have an Emotional Support Animal? 10 Things You Should Know.    Psychologically Speaking . [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/should-my-child-have-an-emotional-support-animal-10-things-you-should-know

Should My Child Have an Emotional Support Animal? 10 Things You Should Know

Throughout history, animals have been documented as companions, messengers, and heroes of mankind. Animals have an intangible quality that just makes people feel good and this special bond is especially strong in children. It’s commonly known that animals can support children with medical conditions such as blindness, epilepsy, or hearing impairment, but did you know many children qualify for a support animal to help them through emotional challenges?

If you think your child might benefit from the comfort of an emotional support animal, here are some things you should know:

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      “Is My Child Addicted to Video Games?” How to Know and What to Do About It   Since their debut in the early 1970’s, video games have been an iconic form of entertainment. While most people can enjoy gaming as an occasional diversion, a growing number of youth seem to be pushing aside family, friends, and activities to spend more time in front of computer screens. Nicknamed “digital heroin,” video game addiction is a growing concern and has recently been classified as a mental health disorder by The World Health Organization.   So how do parents know if their child’s fantasy world is starting to take over their real life?     Warning signs of gaming addiction     Gaming 4+ hours a day    Playing for increasing amounts of time    Thinking or talking about gaming during other activities    Quitting other hobbies    Lying to friends or family to conceal gaming    Alienating themselves from family, friends, or romantic interests    Becoming irritable or miserable when they can’t play video games    Neglecting daily responsibilities    Declining academic performance    Showing physical symptoms including dry eyes, carpel tunnel, weight loss or gain, headaches, or back and neck problems    Ignoring personal hygiene    Depression, anxiety, or social phobias     So what can a parent do about it?    If you are concerned your child or teen may have a gaming problem, try these tips:     1. Start a log    Before you talk to your child about your concerns, start documenting their behaviors in a log. Write down how many hours a day you notice them gaming. Also, write down negative consequences you are noticing, such as them skipping out on soccer practice or avoiding family meals. Also, record how they react when they have to stop gaming.    2. Communicate with love   When you talk to your child about your concerns, do so from a place of patience and love. In many cases, children use gaming as a form of relief from feelings of sadness or  worry, so being stern or critical may only worsen their negative self-image. Talk to them about their good qualities and the things you love about them – share your log with them and express that you are concerned that their gaming is getting in the way of them living their best life.   3. Organize a detox   Like with any other type of addiction, complete abstinence is necessary for success. This can be a bit tricky since computers are so prevalent in our society, so your child will  need to adjust to using computers without gaming. Set boundaries and rules regarding computer use, such as only allowing them to use it for school projects during certain times of day. Remove game consoles, block gaming websites, and keep the computer in a highly visible area in the house for easy monitoring.   4. Prepare to be patient   As your child is detoxing, they may be irritable, mopey, or just downright mean. When they are on your last nerve, walk away and focus on your breathing for a few minutes. Not only will this help you keep your cool, it will model healthy emotional regulation to your child, as opposed to burying emotions with gaming.   5. Make Reality More Exciting   You may think your kid is only interested in high speed pursuits or battling mythical creatures, but the truth is that real life experiences will be much more rewarding to them than any video game could ever be. Get the whole family involved in more physical activities – hikes, backyard baseball, or activities with other families. If they are old enough, encourage them to get a part-time job to boost their self-worth. Activities, hobbies, and responsibilities can both boost their mood and distract them from the lure of gaming.   6. Use a reward system   It can be hard for gamers to see why their addiction is a bad thing. A reward system can incentivize them to stick with their detox, even if they don’t fully agree with it. Try using a points system by giving them “10 points” for every day they go without gaming and have them lose 20 points each day that they cave in and play video games. Let them know that when they reach 1000 points, they get to go to an amusement park, have a sleepover party, or some other fun activity.   7. Seek support   Addictions of all types are complex and challenging to overcome, but there is hope. A qualified specialist can help your child address underlying mental health issues that may have led to their addiction. They can teach self-control techniques and tools to help your child find happiness and self-esteem away from the computer screen.   If you think your child has a problem with video game addiction, Variations can help.        
	 CLick here to find a specialists that's right for you 
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a   call   and we will guide you.  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References   Online Article: Video Game Addiction No fun - Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD    	Keith Bakker, certified interventionist; and director, Smith &   Jones Addiction Consultants. Kimberly Young, PsyD, clinical director, Center   for On-Line Addiction; professor of psychology, St. Bonaventure University;   and author,   Caught in the Net: How to Recognize the Signs of Internet   Addiction -- and a Winning Strategy for Recovery. WebMD Feature:   Internet to Sex: Defining Addiction. Howard, project manager, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.,   Center for On-Line Addiction: "Are You an Obsessive Online Gamer?" and   "Frequently Asked Questions About Internet Addiction."   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). Is My Child Addicted to Video Games? How to Know and What to Do About It     Psychologically Speaking . [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/is-my-child-addicted-to-video-games-how-to-know-and-what-to-do-about-it

“Is My Child Addicted to Video Games?”
How to Know and What to Do About It

Since their debut in the early 1970’s, video games have been an iconic form of entertainment. While most people can enjoy gaming as an occasional diversion, a growing number of youth seem to be pushing aside family, friends, and activities to spend more time in front of computer screens. Nicknamed “digital heroin,” video game addiction is a growing concern and has recently been classified as a mental health disorder by The World Health Organization.

So how do parents know if their child’s fantasy world is starting to take over their real life?

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Should I Get My Kid Tested?   All parents want their children to learn in a fair and enriching environment, but that doesn’t look the same for every child. Students struggling with academic, social, or emotional challenges may require additional support to help them reach their potential. In most cases, however, students can only receive special accommodations if they’ve been tested for eligibility by a licensed specialist.  But all students face challenges in one way or another – how does a parent know if their child should see a specialist?   What Psychologists are testing for   There are a variety of issues that psychologists can identify and recommend accommodations for. Now is an ideal time to get your child tested, as it allows you to make any necessary arrangements for accommodations. Consider visiting a specialist if you think your child may be struggling with any of the following challenges:   1. Learning Disabilities   Throughout your child’s school day, they are asked to process information in a variety of ways. They see numbers, hear directions, and write down answers. Many children have difficulty processing information in one or more ways which can delay their learning and reduce their confidence. Common learning disabilities can impair a child’s ability to focus, read, write, spell, process sounds, interpret language, or understand math symbols. If you suspect your child may have a learning disability, getting them tested can qualify them for accommodations and/or modifications to help them work around their areas of difficulty.    Check out our blog on securing accommodations and modifications for your child on the SAT/ACT    Click below to listen to Dr. Marta Shinn’s podcast on understanding accommodations and modifications for SAT and ACT tests     

 
 
      2. Emotional Intelligence Issues   While intellectual intelligence is important, many studies suggest that emotional intelligence (EQ) may be even more important to a person’s success than their IQ. If your child has a hard time understanding or managing emotions, it can impact their grades, self-esteem, resiliency, and coping skills. Having your child’s emotional development evaluated can help you learn ways to increase their EQ and improve their academic and social experiences.    Check out our blog on 5 Tips for Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children     3. Academic Giftedness   Like every child, intellectually gifted children need love, support, structure, and challenge to reach their potential. Unfortunately, the needs of gifted children can often get a bit neglected, especially when teachers are preoccupied with assisting struggling students. Testing for academic giftedness can help you become an informed advocate for your child. By learning about their abilities and development, you can work with the school to ensure they provide a stimulating environment for your child.   4. Autism Spectrum Disorder   Autism spectrum disorder is a neurological condition that can impact your child’s motor skills, sensory perception, language development, emotional health, and social life. Each of these areas have a significant impact on their academic performance and mental well-being. As its name suggests, autism displays itself in a variety of ways across a wide spectrum; if you suspect that your child may be showing signs, it’s  important that they be evaluated. Once a child is diagnosed with autism, there are many effective methods teachers can use to support their learning.   5. Anxiety Disorders   Anxiety can present itself in different ways – your child may have an irrational fear of hurricanes, worry excessively over tests, or avoid social situations at all costs. Whatever the cause of their worry, anxiety can impact their academic performance, physical health, and emotional well-being. Getting your child tested for anxiety can help you in working with your child’s school to understand their challenges and provide them with the emotional support they need to manage their symptoms in the classroom.      Check out our blog on how to STOP anxiety in its tracks     6. Trauma   While most parents try their best to protect their children from troubling experiences, it’s inevitable that children are sometimes exposed to traumatizing situations. If your child has gone through something traumatic, whether it be surviving a car accident, witnessing your recent divorce, or losing a loved one, they may need support in learning healthy ways to cope. Consulting with a specialist can help your child learn effective and healthy ways to overcome trauma and get back to focusing on school, friends, and fun.   Visit Variations    If you think your child might benefit from educational consulting or psychological evaluation, Variations can help. From testing, walking you through the IEP or 504, or advocating for your child on campus, Variations can support your family every step of the way.     Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D ., is an expert in child and educational psychology. She provides educational consulting to evaluate each child’s emotional and behavioral development and assess if there are other factors such as learning or attention differences that may impact their academic experience. Dr. Shinn works with parents and children to overcome obstacles and help children strive for their academic potential and emotional well-being.      
	  Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn 
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a   call   and we will guide you.  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References   Laura Thi Lam & Susan L. Kirby (2010) Is Emotional Intelligence an Advantage? An Exploration of the Impact of Emotional and General Intelligence on Individual Performance, The Journal of Social Psychology, 142:1, 133-143, DOI: 10.1080/00224540209603891  National Institute of Mental Health https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/panic-disorder-when-fear-overwhelms/index.shtml  Types of Learning Disabilities. Learning Disabilities Association of America Retrieved online https://ldaamerica.org/types-of-learning-disabilities/  https://www.crchealth.com/troubled-teenagers/autism-in-teenagers/   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). Should I Get My Kid Tested?   Psychologically Speaking .   [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/schools-out-should-i-get-my-kid-tested

Should I Get My Kid Tested?

All parents want their children to learn in a fair and enriching environment, but that doesn’t look the same for every child. Students struggling with academic, social, or emotional challenges may require additional support to help them reach their potential. In most cases, however, students can only receive special accommodations if they’ve been tested for eligibility by a licensed specialist.

But all students face challenges in one way or another – how does a parent know if their child should see a specialist?

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      Co-parenting over Summer: 10 Tips for a Drama Free Vacay   Summer is a challenging time for all parents, but especially for those who are no longer together. During the school year, the kids are on a pretty set schedule and co-parents generally know what their responsibilities are from month to month. Then summer rolls around and throws a wrench into visitation, childcare, and transportation arrangements. Add the drama of your ex-relationship to the mix, and your family’s summer fun is at serious risk.   So what can co-parents do to plan a summer that works for everyone?     1. Create a co-parenting plan   Depending on your situation, communication between you and your co-parent might not be optimal. If you can stand being in the same room together (or tolerate phone calls), let your ex know you want to discuss summer plans that are in the best interest of your child. Plan ahead and tell them about trips, camps, or other activities you have in mind. Determine who will make arrangements for childcare and activities and discuss how payments will be split up. Putting summer plans in writing will help you both stay on the same page and avoid misunderstandings.   2. Share your priorities   Ask your ex what’s most important to them this summer. Is it bringing your child to cousin Frank’s wedding on a weekend that isn’t normally theirs? Is it taking your child to see a concert of their favorite band? Even if you secretly couldn’t care less about what your ex wants, being flexible and acknowledging what’s important to them will make it a lot more likely that they will do the same for you.   3. Meet halfway   Co-parents often bump heads about what summer activities their child should be enrolled in. One parent might think they are old enough to be home alone and that camps are a waste of money. The other might dread the thought of their little pookie-pie unsupervised without constant stimulation and structured snack-time. Whichever side you’re on, be open to compromise. Don’t feel like forking out half the cost for that exclusive STEM camp? Compile research to share with your ex on some smaller camps that might provide a more reasonable option.   4. Avoid competition   If you find yourself trying to one-up your ex with cooler plans for the ultimate vacay, remind yourself that competing with your co-parent will only make your child feel guilty. Splitting the summer between two households can be tough for a child or teen, so the most important thing is that they get quality one-on-one time with each parent. It doesn’t matter if it’s be on a beach in Maui or at a backyard barbecue; bonding with each parent is most important.   5. Get your child’s input   As you work out summer arrangements with your co-parent, make sure you don’t overlook what your child actually wants. Parents feel a lot of pressure to make summer amazing for their kids, but maybe all your child really wants to do is work on their guitar skills and hang out with friends. Focusing plans around your child’s priorities will make them feel important and will also reduce the power struggle between co-parents.   6. Don’t smother from afar   If your child is going away with your ex for an extended time, it’s perfectly reasonable for you to want to check in with them periodically – just don’t overdo it. Discuss set times with your ex that you will call and check in with your child, but limit it to 2 or 3 times a week. That way, your child is less likely to resent your contact and you won’t appear to be encroaching on the other parent’s quality time.   7. Make the most of your “me-time”   While you will miss your child and may even worry about them when they are with the other parent, remember that there is a silver lining in having a split summer: you get lots more free time! Make the most of your me-time by planning several kid-free activities to occupy your time and look forward to.   8. Support the other relationship    Co-parents come with a wide variety of background stories. Some just grew apart but still care and respect for each other. Others may have been lied to or cheated on and can’t stand the thought of that no-good two timer. Whatever your story is, remind yourself that it’s in your child’s best interest to have a positive relationship with both parents. Show support for them making memories with their other parent and ask them all about their time with them.   9. Don’t hex your ex   No matter how reasonable or considerate you are, sometimes the other parent just won’t want to compromise. As frustrating as this may be, don’t badmouth your ex to your child, even if they talk badly about you. Comments like, “You couldn’t go to Disneyworld because your dad refused to pay his half,” will alienate the other parent and put the weight of your drama on your child’s shoulders. When you’re feeling angry or upset, call a friend or other trusted adult to vent to.   10. Visit a specialist   Every family situation is different and sometimes parents need a little extra help in managing the challenges that co-parenting can bring. If co-parenting or visitation challenges are becoming overwhelming, Variations can help.      
	 CLick here to find a specialists that's right for you 
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   https://www.thelincolnlawfirm.com/blog/2018/04/tips-for-successfully-co-parenting-this-summer.shtml  Loving Your Children More Than You Hate Each Other  Powerful Tools for Navigating a High-Conflict Divorce   Lauren J. Behrman PhD, Jeffrey Zimmerman PhD, ABPP  http://coparently.com/co-parenting-through-summer   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). Co-parenting over Summer: 10 Tips for a Drama Free Vacay.     Psychologically Speaking . [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/co-parenting-over-summer-10-tips-for-a-drama-free-vacay

Co-parenting over Summer: 10 Tips for a Drama Free Vacay

Summer is a challenging time for all parents, but especially for those who are no longer together. During the school year, the kids are on a pretty set schedule and co-parents generally know what their responsibilities are from month to month. Then summer rolls around and throws a wrench into visitation, childcare, and transportation arrangements. Add the drama of your ex-relationship to the mix, and your family’s summer fun is at serious risk.

So what can co-parents do to plan a summer that works for everyone?

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      6 Tips to Prepare for your Teen’s Independence   Independence Day – the anniversary of America’s founding fathers declaring liberation from England’s governance. When it comes to governing one’s household, nearly every parent anticipates the day that their child will give their own, “declaration of independence.” Parents expect that as their teens emerge into their 20’s, they’ll soon be moving out and establishing themselves as self-sufficient adults. To many parents’ dismay, however, more and more young adults are having trouble meeting the milestones that lead to independence.  And while the prospect of an empty nest can be a little scary, the idea of children living with their parents forever can be even more concerning.   Is “Failure to Launch Syndrome” a thing?   “Failure to Launch” is not an official diagnosis, but rather a slang term derived from a movie referring to adult children who are either unmotivated or unable to become self-sufficient. Most psychologists aren’t fond of the term, “Failure to Launch,” because it labels these adults as failures, and a person’s ability to move out of their parent’s home should not solely determine their overall success. Also, failure sounds like a final outcome, and is a pretty harsh way to label what is often a temporary struggle. Negative labels aside, there’s no denying that there is a growing phenomenon of young adults who find the prospect of independence terrifying, paralyzing, or just plain unappealing.     So is it a psych issue?    There are several factors contributing to why millions of young adults, many of whom are employed or have college degrees, are finding it harder to leave the nest. The rising cost of living and limited economic opportunities are certainly a part of it, but in many cases, these adult children are struggling with beliefs that they are inadequate and incapable of making it on their own. Other factors contributing to their struggle may include mental illness, learning disabilities, or attention problems. Therefore, psychological issues often play an important role in a young adult’s struggle to achieve independence.   Why is this generation having such a problem?   There have been a few cultural shifts over the past several decades that experts believe have contributed to this “dependent adult” phenomenon:   The “No marriage til after grad school” shift   In recent years, society has encouraged young adults to prioritize higher education and graduate degrees over starting careers and families. While there are obvious benefits to having a well-educated society, many young adults have focused so much on academic endeavors that they haven’t developed the life skills that are necessary for self-sufficiency. Attending college into one’s mid-20’s to early 30’s has also caused more adults to delay independent milestones such as getting their first job, marrying, or moving into their own home.   The “Winning is the only option” shift    Since the 1980’s, there has been increased pressure on parents to protect their children from failure. This has promoted parenting styles that strive for perfectionism. Ironically, this drive to protect children from failure may be exactly what holds them back from success in adulthood. By conditioning children to believe that perfection is the only acceptable outcome, they are led to believe that they can’t possibly handle the pressures of independence without the protective net of their parents.   While these societal changes have made it more challenging for young adults to get out on their own, there are steps parents can take to support their child’s healthy transition into adulthood:     1. Have them set their own goals   Figuring out college and career plans in high school is a daunting task for many teens. Their brains aren’t fully developed yet, they have little to no work experience, yet they must make life-altering choices that strongly impact their future. While it’s good for you to talk openly about their plans and discuss potential pros and cons, be careful not to goal-set for them. Allow them to set their own goals and create their own action plan to achieve them. This will emphasize the belief that they are capable of managing their own life, even when things get confusing or overwhelming.   2. Take off the training wheels    Remember when you taught your kid how to ride a bike? For a period of time they rode with training wheels. Then you warily removed them but still held their handlebars as they rode around the block for a while. Finally, the day came that you released your grip and let them ride on their own. Make sure that when your teen approaches other life milestones, you aren’t leaving their “training wheels” on for too long. Teach them what they need to know, be available to answer questions, but remove your protective buffer to show them that you believe in their abilities.   Example: Teaching your teen about financial management when they get their first job     Show them how to create a budget    Teach them how to calendar due dates, set up a checking account, and pay their cell-phone bill    Tell them you’ll help walk them through their budget and bill payments for their first 2 paychecks    On the 3rd paycheck and beyond, be available to answer questions if they come to you, but don’t do it for them     3. Put and end to enabling   If your teen feels like they have it made living with you, they may not be motivated to face the challenges that come with independent living. If they’re procrastinating on searching for a summer job, stop giving them spending money. If they seem to be avoiding the steps toward getting their driver’s license, stop chauffeuring them around at their request. If independent driving isn’t an option for them yet, have them start riding their bike places to accustom them to getting around on their own. Sometimes removing the “perks” of living with mom and dad can be an effective nudge in getting your teen to face their fears and take the plunge into self-sufficiency.   4. Stop fearing failure   Teen years can be tough for both parents and their children; parents are used to the days of brushing their kids’ teeth, packing their lunch, and making sure they have clean underwear. Whether it be school work, household chores, or social situations, avoid the urge to rescue them every time they stumble. Independence requires understanding the consequences of actions, as well as maintaining resiliency through missteps. Your teen can’t develop these critical traits without being given the space to work through age-appropriate challenges, even when it means they must be late to a job interview or wear dirty socks.   5. Keep your love unconditional   If your teen isn’t showing the motivation or work ethic you think will be necessary for them to achieve independence, you may get understandably frustrated. Try not to express your frustration by lashing out or giving ultimatums. Teens and young adults who struggle with life transitions are often dealing with low self-esteem already; feeling that their parents’ love is conditional on their performance will only worsen the anxiety that holds them back. Let them know that you love them unconditionally and empower them by fostering their passions and persistency.  Click below  to listen to a podcast by   Dr. Marta M. Shinn   on fostering passion and persistence in your child.         

 
 
      6. Visit a specialist    Emerging into adulthood can be a scary and confusing time, and struggling to achieve independence can impact both parents and their adult children. A specialist in family therapy can help families unravel the different factors leading to their child’s difficulties and give practical strategies to improve the parent-child relationship and empower adult children toward independence.      
	 CLick here to find a specialists that's right for you 
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams). See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a   call   and we will guide you.  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References   Boll, J. (2017)  When Your Young Adult with “Failure to Launch” Won’t Get Help: Survival Tips for Parents Who Aren’t Done Parenting , retrieved online from Resources to Recover.org   Carnevale, A.P., Hanson, A.R., Gulish, A. (2013)  Failure to Launch Structural Shift and the New Generation.    Jaffi, A. (2016).  The Failures of “Failure to Launch” Syndrome  Retrieved online:https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/all-about-addiction/201602/the-failures-failure-launch-syndrome  Kins, E., Beyers, W. (2010)  Failure to Launch, Failure to Achieve Criteria for Adulthood?  Journal of Adolescent Research, Volume: 25 issue: 5, page(s): 743-777   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). 6 Tips to Prepare for your Teen’s Independence.   Psychologically Speaking .   [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/6-tips-to-prepare-for-your-teens-independence

6 Tips to Prepare for your Teen’s Independence

Independence Day – the anniversary of America’s founding fathers declaring liberation from England’s governance. When it comes to governing one’s household, nearly every parent anticipates the day that their child will give their own, “declaration of independence.” Parents expect that as their teens emerge into their 20’s, they’ll soon be moving out and establishing themselves as self-sufficient adults. To many parents’ dismay, however, more and more young adults are having trouble meeting the milestones that lead to independence.

Is “Failure to Launch Syndrome” a thing?

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      5 Tips for Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children   From the time a baby is born until they establish themselves as adults, most parents are at least a little concerned with how intelligent their child will be. They may get a little worried if their best friend’s kid started talking earlier or if their teen didn’t make the honor roll.     But what about the type of intelligence that doesn’t impact a kid’s ability to solve math equations or memorize state capitols?    We’re talking about emotional intelligence, and though it might not get quite as much “air time” among parents’ concerns, we’re here to convince you that it’s just as important to your child’s future as their academic performance.   What is emotional intelligence?   Emotional intelligence (EQ) is our ability to identify and manage the emotions of ourselves and others. EQ refers to the way that we perceive, process, regulate, and use emotional information.   For example, if your child has high EQ, they might manage a conflict with a friend in the following manner:    Emotional Perception  – “I’ve noticed that Hailey has been ignoring me at recess so I think she might be mad at me.”  Emotional Process  – “I’m feeling lonely and hurt because Hailey is ignoring me, but I’m not going to let it ruin my day. I have lots of people that care about me and I’m sure I’ll get through this.”  Emotional Regulation  – “I think I’ll ask Hailey about why she’s angry at me, but first I’m going to take a walk to calm down and think about what I should say.”  Emotional Utilization  – “Now that I’m feeling calm, I’m going to ask Hailey if she’s angry with me and talk to her about how we can work it out.”     How EQ impacts your child’s life   A person’s EQ guides their behaviors and impacts their career, relationships, and overall well-being. While IQ may be a good indicator of your child’s academic potential, it won’t necessarily help them relate to others or manage challenges. Some argue that EQ is more important to success than IQ, as EQ has shown to have stronger influence on stress management, team cohesiveness, and job performance than technical knowledge.   Why is EQ so critical?   Studies have shown that American children have steadily declined in emotional intelligence over the past several decades. A growing number of kids are struggling with anxiety, impulsivity, disobedience, anger, loneliness, and depression. An unfortunate reflection of this trend is also seen in the growing prevalence of school violence since the 1990’s. To address this alarming concern, it’s important that parents and educators understand how to cultivate emotional intelligence in children.   How can I raise an emotionally intelligent child?    Just as there are academic prodigies who seemed to master calculus from within the womb, there are kids who naturally have a higher EQ than others. Whether a child is “emotionally gifted” or not, studies have shown that emotional intelligence can be taught and increased in children.   Here are 5 tips for raising an emotionally intelligent child:     1. Be an emotional "label maker"   Emotionally intelligent people understand and accept their emotions as they experience them. This insight allows them to identify what they are feeling and understand that their emotions are temporary. Big emotions can feel very overwhelming to little people, so help your child understand their feelings by “labeling” them as they come up. This will help them realize that their feelings are a normal part of life that can be worked through.   Example: “You’re feeling angry because it’s your brother’s turn to pick the movie we watch. Everyone feels angry sometimes, and it’s ok to feel that way.”    2. Become an "empathy" model   While you may not be a fitness or swimsuit model, parenting gives you a chance to model your best body part – your heart! Modeling empathy, especially when you don’t agree with your child, is an effective way to show them how to acknowledge the perspectives of others even when they don’t see eye to eye. Empathizing does not mean you have to let your parental boundaries cave in, it simply means you validate their feelings while sticking to your rules.   Example: “I understand that it’s hard for you to stop playing and come inside, but it’s time for dinner.”    3. Encourage expression   When your child starts the dreaded “whine-talk” or temper tantrum, it can be tempting to plug your ears and send them to their room. Unfortunately, this tells your child that expressing negative emotions is unacceptable, causing them to repress their feelings rather than learning how to managing them. When your child gets upset, encourage them to use calm words to explain how they are feeling. Try to stop viewing negative emotions as harmful – instead, view them as a teaching opportunity to show your child how to express emotions in a calm, healthy way.   Example: “It looks like you’re feeling sad because your sister was leaving you out of the game. It’s ok to be sad, but it’s never ok to hit. Use calm words to tell your sister how you are feeling.”    4. Increase their interactions   Children of previous generations spent a lot more time playing with other children – a behavior that naturally cultivates EQ. Today’s kids tend to spend a lot of time indoors, limiting their emotional interactions. Limit screen time and allow your child to have plenty of unstructured social time with peers. Take the time to actively talk and listen to them without distractions. Even if your child is yelling at you to go away, a child’s rage and sadness often can’t dissipate until they feel heard and understood. Put your phone away, let the laundry wait, and tell your child you want to listen.   Example: “I know you said you’re angry and that you want to be alone, but I just want you to know that I’m here and I want to listen.    5. Empower problem solving   Your child’s homework will almost always revolve around solving academic problems – things like figuring out which train will reach its destination faster or determining how to make an egg survive being thrown off a building. Emotional conundrums might not be in their weekly homework packet, but they deserve just as much attention. When your child is upset or disappointed, encourage them by offering to help them brainstorm ideas to overcome their difficult emotions.   Example: “It looks like you’re feeling frustrated because your friend hurt your feelings. When you’re feeling calm, let’s think of things you can say to help her understand how you feel.”    Variations can help   Emotional intelligence is a critical aspect in your child’s development, social relationships, mental health, and life-long success. If you are concerned about your child’s EQ development or just want to learn more ways to support their emotional growth, Variations Psychology can help.         
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.    More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams). See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a   call   and we will guide you.  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References   Bar-On, R., Maree, J.G., & Elias, M.J. (2007)  Educating People To Be Emotionally Intelligent.  Heinemann Publishers.   Gottman, J. (1997)  Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child . Simon & Schuster.  Mikolajczak, Moïra et al.  The moderating impact of emotional intelligence on free cortisol responses to stress Psychoneuroendocrinology , Volume 32 , Issue 8 , 1000 - 1012     Laura Thi Lam & Susan L. Kirby (2010) Is Emotional Intelligence an Advantage? An Exploration of the Impact of Emotional and General Intelligence on Individual Performance, The Journal of Social Psychology, 142:1, 133-143,DOI: 10.1080/00224540209603891   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). 5 Tips for Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children.   Psychologically Speaking .   [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/5-tips-for-raising-emotionally-intelligent-children

5 Tips for Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children

From the time a baby is born until they establish themselves as adults, most parents are at least a little concerned with how intelligent their child will be. They may get a little worried if their best friend’s kid started talking earlier or if their teen didn’t make the honor roll.  

But what about the type of intelligence that doesn’t impact a kid’s ability to solve math equations or memorize state capitols?